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The Art of Dying as an Art of Living: Historical Contemplations on the Paradoxes of Suicide and the Possibilities of Reflexive Suicide Prevention
Södertörn University, School of Historical and Contemporary Studies, History of Ideas. Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES).
2013 (English)In: Journal of Medical Humanities, ISSN 1041-3545, E-ISSN 1573-3645, Vol. 34, no 3, 347-368 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The main aim of this paper is to reconstruct different aspects of the history of ideas of suicide, from antiquity to late modernity, and contemplate their dialectical tension. Reflexive suicide prevention, drawing on the ancient wisdom that the art of living is inseparable from the art of dying, takes advantage, it is argued, of the contradictory nature of suicide, and hence embraces, rather than trying to overcome, death, pain, grief, fear, hopelessness and milder depressions. This approach might facilitate the transformation of inner shame to inter-personal guilt, which is the precondition for coping with losses through grieving that is shared with others. The traditional projection of suicide on the ‘Other’, reinforced by modernity’s bio-political suppression of death, has inhibited development of good suicide prevention. Awareness of the ambiguity and ambivalence found in suicide may work as a resource when measures are taken to address as many causal mechanisms as possible, and bringing special emphasis to external factors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 34, no 3, 347-368 p.
Keyword [en]
Suicide, Death, Reflexive Prevention, Bio-Power, History of Ideas, Existential Philosophy
National Category
History of Ideas
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-19486DOI: 10.1007/s10912-013-9235-7PubMedID: 23794108ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84881613590OAI: diva2:639363
Available from: 2013-08-07 Created: 2013-08-07 Last updated: 2014-01-31Bibliographically approved

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Petrov, Kristian
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